City issues meningitis warning

Teacher's aide at city's Lockerman Bundy Elementary School dies

December 30, 2006|By Julie Scharper | Julie Scharper,Sun reporter

City health officials warn that students at a West Baltimore elementary school should seek preventive treatment after the death of a teacher's assistant from what is believed to be meningitis.

More than 60 kindergarten and pre-kindergarten students at Lockerman Bundy Elementary School might have been exposed and should take antibiotics, said Baltimore Health Commissioner Dr. Joshua Sharfstein.

The assistant, Eboni Brooks, 26, of Baltimore, was admitted to University of Maryland Medical Center yesterday morning after suffering from flu-like symptoms for the past week. She died early in the afternoon, officials said.

Preliminary tests strongly indicate that she was infected with the meningococcus bacterium, Sharfstein said.

"Once it strikes and people get this sick, it's a very devastating disease," Sharfstein said.

People who had prolonged face-to-face contact with Brooks or who might have had contact with her bodily fluids should call 311 and ask for the meningitis staff. Her family and roommate have begun antibiotic treatments, Sharfstein said.

Health officials attempted to contact the students' families yesterday. They urged the parents of one kindergarten student who had been running a fever to take her to the emergency room.

Anyone who had contact with Brooks and is experiencing fever, muscle aches or flu-like symptoms should immediately seek medical help, Sharfstein said.

The city is running a clinic today for people who might have been exposed. Free antibiotics will be available.

Sharfstein said that the disease is not highly contagious and that it is not likely that many people were exposed.

julie.scharper@baltsun.com

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